December 27, 2005 Subject:
Nothing says expo like flowers!
Even though it says Unknown Im 100% certain that this is the Wathens, whose films grace this archive, adventures through the pacific Northwest. Here, they drive through the coastline, marvel at the redwood trees, marvel at the goats on the shoreline, and take some very wobbly shots through the car window (with reflections of Mrd Wathens body!!) and then go to the expo at SF. While there, they take some VERY nice photos of the place, with the central tower, some of the exhibits and of course, the flowers.. damn the flowers!
Amateur films, like this one, are always a bit meloncholy. Ripped from their original context, the films become a random abuttment of images. This film in particular is doubly curious as the people taking this trip are largely absent. We are only treated to a few brief glimpses of Claudia's dress reflected in the windshield, standing next to a carving of a bear and riding on a covered wagon drawn by a buffalo.
What we do have in their place is a series of sometimes disconnected and shaky shots of Oregon and Northern California from about 1940. Occasionally interspersed are professional looking title cards or hand written titles shot on a notebook. The film starts out with shots of the beach at Gold Beach in southern Oregon. Next, we cut hops fields and the capital building in Salem. Then a series of bizarrely disconnected shots of a bear cub in a pen and in a tree, a bridge perhaps north of North Bend/Coos Bay on US 101, a visit to San Sabastian Cape State Park on the central Oregon coast and a forest fire or fog in the early morning on the dunes.
Shots abruptly stop and start as this is the raw footage in the camera with minimal editting. This is done to especially odd effect as the couple drives down into Northern California on either US 99 or US 101. The camera is pointed out the front of the vehical, then it abruptly cuts to a static shot of some wood carvings before starting up again with shots out of the driving vehical.
The second half of the film is petrenaturally colored footage of San Francisco World's Fair. Appearently, the couple visited on Mexico Day, as the camera lingers on a parade of Mexicans in "traditional" garb. Much of the footage is of the landscaping of the grounds, and the flowers are almost oversaturated in their brightness.
In many ways, this is a glimpse at a largely lost time. While sights as the coast are still spectaclar, some aspects such as the logging trucks pulling out enormous tree trunks or the winding roads around the ponds and lakes that dot the redwood forests don't seem to have the sense of wonder that this film conveys. I suppose it is that sort of sense of loss that contributes the meloncholy of these films.